Homes - Interiors

Interior: Charming coastal cottage

Crafty homeowners create a serene blue and white vacation retreat on the shores of Prince Edward Island.

An all-white cottage poses a danger. Fill it with frilly bedskirts and contrived country furnishings, and it can feel too precious and pretty, especially if there’s a man in the house. But done with the right balance of complementary tones and personalized touches, it can be an unmatchable thing of beauty: serene, pristine and ideal in a seaside setting.

A good example is the heavenly 700-square-foot cottage in P.E.I. owned by Kevin Austin of Vintage Fine Objects in Toronto and his wife. Kevin admits that buying a cottage retreat three provinces over may seem extreme: “Some Ontario people think we’re crazy to have a cottage so far away, but if you’ve been to the Island, you know,” he says. “We lead busy lives in the city and love the beauty and pull of the ocean. It’s very much an all-senses experience being there. And the people are the best!” (Though some might say he’s biased, since his wife hails from a long line of Islanders.)

The six-room cottage itself was also a draw. At one-and-a-half storeys, it came with a charming facade including red shutters that sport crescent-moon cutouts. “The interior design was very much inspired by the character of the building – it’s about 75 years old and close to the ocean,” says Kevin. “Another lure was the whale weather vane on the roof. Those cues led us to a coastal look with a bit of preppy and modern mixed in,” he says. “We like a combination of fine antiques, new classics like the sofa, and thrift shop finds so that things aren’t too sweet.”

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Colourful exterior
The cottage’s charming exterior, complete with red roof and shutters, was irresistible to Kevin and his wife.

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